Adjustment to being a mum and parent is such a big topic and it needs to be looked at. I regularly meet men and women who are struggling with adapting to the new role as parents. You attend the classes at the hospital and then boom…suddenly you’re at home with a delicate little newborn. Your first day at home and you’re home alone…and the baby cries…you feel overwhelmed.
Have you had breakfast? Had a shower? Got dressed? And suddenly its lunchtime. You’ve got piles of washing waiting to be done, the bin is overflowing with nappies, there’s nothing in the fridge to eat. Sound familiar?
In my previous job at Sydney Children’s Hospital I worked on the Parent Support Team with women who needed extra help and support in adjusting to their new role. How many of us would take on a new job with lots of responsibility without training and an induction programme? Exactly, and yet we are expected to know what to do. No wonder we can feel overwhelmed.
In my Psychology Degree I did a dissertation into Motherhood and Life Changes. I interviewed 10 women from very different social backgrounds on what it was like to be a mum. And boy was it huge. Several themes emerged:
- Loss of self
- Loss of identity
These were the main ones. Huge aren’t they? It took me 6 weeks to transcribe these interviews and they were profound. I can see how I’ve ended up setting up Nurture Parenting Solutions.
A lot of mums/families I meet are experiencing postnatal distress or adjustment disorder/issues rather than postnatal depression. Sleep deprivation really doesn’t help and tends to increase anxiety. I can totally understand why a lot of mums want their baby in a routine. It helps with feelings of control. However there are ways of helping find a ‘routine’ without resorting to Gina Ford or any of the other doctrines that are similar.
It’s also really important to do something positive for yourself every day. That may be a walk down to the coffee shop, listen to some of your favourite music or a quick catch up on some sleep you missed out on last night. Replenishing your reserves is so important in helping you get through a day with baby.
Check in with a friend, pick up the phone or send a text message. All these things can help boost you. We all need people contact and a little interaction can make all the difference in the crazy hectic world thats full of technology.
And remember it doesn’t last forever this baby stage.
They do grow up but it’s important to enjoy it.
If you find that things are not getting better then talk to someone about it. You may choose your partner, a friend, your GP, your Child & Family Health Nurse or any of the phone support services lie Karitane. Problems shared are always better than those kept inside. Sharing things makes things better. Try and you’ll see…
Here are the links in case you need them
- Karitane –Karitane Careline Ph 1300 CARING (1300 227 464) | TTY (02) 9794 2300 | firstname.lastname@example.org
- Beyond Blue – http://www.beyondblue.org.au or ring 1300 224636
And don’t forget the mothers groups at your local clinic, they can be invaluable to a lot of parents out there.